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James Gordon MacDonald

Souda Bay War Cemetery, Crete, Greece.

Souda Bay War Cemetery, Crete, Greece.

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  • Title
  • Forenames
    James Gordon AWMM
  • Surname
    MacDonald AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    33100 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    18 June 1909 AWMM OamaruOtago AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
  • Relationship status


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    33100 AWMM
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    Military Medal (MM) AWMM
    4 November 1941 AWMM
    The National Archives. Recommendation for Award for MacDonald, James Gordon. (Ref. WO 373/27/373). Military Medal. AWMM

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment

Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    Killed in Action, Cause of Death AWMM

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Son of James and Emily Eileen Macdonald, of New Plymouth, Taranaki

    Driver J. G. Macdonald, MM; born Oamaru, 18 Jun 1909; clerk; killed in action May 1941. (Source: Bates, P.W. Supply Company. p.52.)

    'Their tanks replenished with the petrol brought down from Portas Pass, six Supply Column and six Petrol Company trucks, all under Second-Lieutenant Ward, set out for Levadhia. They reached the railway station some time after midnight on 20 April and found on a siding a mixed pack train. Petrol was found and loading begun, but because it was difficult in the dark to distinguish what was being handled, work was suspended until it was light. In the morning it was found that the train contained high octane aviation spirit which the RTO had orders to hold. It was therefore decided to complete the load with oil.

    Half a load of oil had been stacked on the first truck when the familiar angry drone of aircraft was heard. There was a scatter as the first Stukas peeled off and came screaming down on the station. Bombs squarely hit the trucks containing the aviation spirit, and the rake flared up in a towering sheet of flame. In a moment the blaze had Sapperead to adjacent ammunition wagons, and 25 and 60 pounder shells erupted with a roar. Only 20 feet from the blazing train were stacked 2000 rounds of high-explosive shells and mines.

    The RTO may have been justified in pronouncing the situation hopeless, but there were at least two who did not agree. Driver Macdonald,1 of E Section, Supply Column, and Sergeant H. Killalea, of the Australian Corps of Signals, who had been on line maintenance, Sapperinted for the only engine in sight, several hundred yards down the track, where it had been abandoned by its Greek crew. Neither knew how to operate a locomotive, but while Stukas and Messerschmitts swept the area with fire, they got this one into motion and brought it back to the trucks. They hitched up twenty-eight trucks laden with petrol, oil and ammunition, severed the coupling with the burning wagons, and drew the load to a safe distance down the line.

    The others began moving shells and mines from the burning, exploding rake, and Macdonald and Killalea came back to assist with this. Throughout the hour's raid, amidst smoke and flames, oil was loaded onto trucks and shells and mines stacked safely away.

    ‘Everything that was saved,’ said Ward in reporting the incident to his commanding officer, ‘was due to the initiative and courage of these two men, who were the first to attempt salvage.’ Macdonald was awarded the MM.' (Source: Bates, P.W. Supply Company. p. 52.) AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    2 June 1941 AWMM
    Age 31 AWMM
    CreteGreece AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Suda Bay War Cemetery, Crete, Greece AWMM 6. C. 15 AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

Roll of Honour

Remember James Gordon MacDonald by laying a poppy.

Leave a note

Leave a tribute or memory of James Gordon MacDonald

Leave a note

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  • You have not been forgotten. Twice we have put a poppy on your headstone. Thank you for your sacrifice. RIP.
    Public - Anna - 20 September 2015



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  • External links
  • References
    • Bates, P. (1955). Supply Company. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
      pp.51-2. AWMM
    • Kidson, A. (1961). Petrol Company. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
      p.98. AWMM
    • McClymont, W. (1959). To Greece. Wellington, N.Z.: Department Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
      pp.358-9. AWMM
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1941). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 3 (Embarkations from 1st July, 1940 to 31st March, 1941). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      p.289 AWMM


Command item
Command item
Add new record Refresh
DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
24 April 2022Ian BanksTaumarunui New ZealandResearcher
20 September 2015AnnaTokoroaOther

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